How Do You Keep Yourself Organized

Interview Question: How Do You Keep Yourself Organized?

The question “ how do you keep yourself organized?” is one of the many behavioral questions that interviewers ask candidates to ascertain their skills, personality, and work attitude. Behavioral questions can also be called situational questions. Behavioral or situational questions are based on the logic that a candidate’s past behavior can be used to ascertain his reaction to a similar situation in the future. This particular question is used to identify a candidate’s organizational skills. Organizational skill Is the ability to efficiently allocate time, energy, and resources. It is an important skill necessary for every employee no matter the job role or level.

Organizational skills are even more important in fast-paced organizations that require employees to multitask. Organizational skill is most especially needed by the entry-level candidate because they handle tons of tiny tasks throughout the day. The ability to effectively handle these tasks mostly assigned by different supervisors is crucial. Most interview questions have some hidden challenge that the interview wants the candidate to solve through his answers. They may look plain on the outside but the interview will be looking out for certain answers from you. Identifying these hidden tasks will help you tailor your answers to the interviewer’s heart content.


Why do hiring managers ask this question” How do you stay organized?”

Recruiters invest a lot of time and resources into recruiting processes. Some companies even carry out multiple stages of recruitment. All of these are done just to screen the hundreds of applicants to pick the candidate that is a good fit for their organization. A candidate that is a good fit for company A might not be a good fit for company B. Every company has its own culture with which they operate. Before the interview, the hiring manager sets questions that will assess a candidate’s credibility. Interviewers ask questions related to the organization because it is a necessary skill that increases productivity and efficiency. An employee with excellent organizational skills will be able to allocate his time, energy, and resources more effectively than an employee who lacks this skill.

Remember every role is interlinked to each other. When one employee is not operating efficiently, it does not just affect his productivity level but also the productivity level of other employees. For instance, if the procurement personnel is not actively working, other employees will not function properly because of delays or unavailability of working tools. The interviewer might not ask you the exact question above, he might as you questions like these; Tell me about a time you effectively handled a project with a close deadline? Are you an organized person? What tools do you use to organize your work? When this question is asked bear in mind that the interviewer is not only asking about how you arrange your desk, place items, or if you are careless or not. As stated above it involves a lot more than that. Organizational skills involve the means or tools you use to allocate time and resources properly. It could be a software or physical tool that uses you to organize your work.


Tips on how to answer the interview question ”how do you keep yourself organized?”

Practice before the interview

There is a popular saying “when preparation meets opportunity success is inevitable”. In a year you might get the chance to interview with a company only once. For some companies like KPMG, you can participate in their graduate trainee programme only once in a lifetime. You do not want to be thrown out after you have passed the hurdle of resume screening, just because you are not adequately prepared. That being said, when preparing for an interview, browse about common interview questions. When preparing for a question like “ how do you stay organized?”, make a list of all the tools you use to keep yourself organized. Practice your answer severally before going in. This keeps you from rambling over words or giving irrelevant answers.

Describe the system that works for you

As stated earlier every role has specific tools that can be used to efficiently manage that role. This also applied to the person handling there. Employee A might have a different timekeeping tool from employee B. Employee B might use app xxx to keep track of sakes progress while employee B will use app zzz. While some individuals prefer to use applications on their phones to keep track of things, others might prefer to do it manually. As such, the employee might keep a journal where he writes daily tasks and a to-do list. Some can even use calendars to Keep track of specific dates. The more technology-inclined employees might choose to use phone calendar reminders, alarms, or different reminder applications. Some professionals download certain chrome extensions that help make their work better. For instance, the Grammarly extension is a Grammar correction application. Another example is the incognito browser, this can be used to carry out Google searches for information that is not meant for second eyes. This is useful as the incognito browser does not leave browsing history. Do not go looking for complicated answers, as the question is meant to ascertain the tools you use to make your work easier, simpler, and more efficient.


Do not go about conjuring lies, it is a waste of time. Hiring managers or human resource officers, in general, are usually prepped in identifying lies. The flaw might come from your body language or the follow-up questions that will be asked after. Recent interviews are usually candidate-led. This means whatever a candidate presents in the first question will prompt the second, and third questions, and so on. It is not chemistry or magic that interviewers can pick up lies, but when you repeat the same process over and over again, you become a pro in the area or field. Instead of lying, why not practice as said in the first section. It is not rocket science, the answer is very simple. Ask yourself these questions;  How do I accomplish tasks? Do I keep a schedule where I fix tasks? How do I prioritize tasks? What do I use to keep my schedule? How do I keep track of things?

Demonstrate your organizational skill practically

I do not know if you have an idea that your physical appearance is also assessed during an interview. How can you claim you are organized when you can not even fix a tie, polish your shoe or wear an ironed dress to an interview. Dress the way you want to be addressed. If you come to an interview disorganized, how do you expect the interviewer to view you as an individual with efficient organizational skills? Another example is the time you come for the interview. Probably the interview was fixed for 8 am and you arrive an hour later. How can you then claim to have good time management skills? What about the basic documents needed for the interview? If you can not present the basic documents like the resume needed during an interview, what are you there for?

Give specific examples

Questions regarding a candidate’s organizational skills are graded under behavioral questions. Behavioral or situational questions are never answered with a simple yes or no. Give your answer with examples. Behavioral questions are best answered using a framework, it could be the S.W.O.T framework or STAR framework. Sometimes a framework might not be suitable for the question asked, so do not try to fix every question under a framework. Frameworks are used to present clear and concise answers. The interview gets to know what the problem was, the role you played in it, and the result you got from it. Having said this, narrow your answer to a situation you have previously been in. This is why it is called a situational question. Your response to the previous situation will help assess your behavior if the same situation occurs again.


What not to say

When answering an interview question try to always be positive. If it is a question that is particularly out to get your weak point, then try to twist the negative situation to a positive conclusion. Do not ever say that you are not organized during an interview. Even if you are not very organized, you can explain the tools you have adapted to keep you organized and give facts of the positive outcomes. Even though you have the system by which you operate, try not to be too rigid. Always leave room for change, let the interviewer know that you are flexible and ready to learn and adapt to a new way of operation.


Follow up questions

As I mentioned earlier, interviews are candidate-led. Your answer to this question might prompt the interviewer to ask you the following questions.

What steps do you take to organize and plan projects?

How do you fit in last-minute changes to an already made plan?

Have you ever handled a project with a close-up deadline?

Have you ever been in a situation where your planning failed despite all odds? What did you do to mitigate the situation?

Interview Questions

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